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I'm baaaack

Come on now, be honest, Blob Nation. You all thought I'd been A) put out to pasture (at last!) with the rest of the nags; B) transferred to somewhere I could more useful, like the mail room; or C) afflicted with a peculiar form of amnesia in which I thought I was former Bears coach Abe Gibron, which explained why I would, for no apparent reason, suddenly blurt out "Douglass! Douglass!"

But, anyway. I'm back, after a few days of holiday revels with the familials. And I've got just a few observations I've been storing up:

* Is there an unluckier, or more ill-used, individual in professional football than Tim Tebow?

First the Jets ownership brings him in simply because it thought Tebowmania would sell a pile of tickets, without ever considering that Rex Ryan and the coaching staff didn't really want him. So Rex and the boys, rather than seriously trying to make him an NFL quarterback (which, ahem, he is not nor ever will be), turn him instead into Gimmick Man, a superhero whose powers are apparently limited to being a nice guy who occasionally morphs into a football novelty item.

Then, when Mark "What Am I Doing In New York?" Sanchez finally plays himself out of the starting quarterback job, Rex skips over Tebow, the nominal No. 2. Instead, he channels his inner George Jetson and elevates His Boy (Mc)Elroy to the starting job.

Then McElroy gets concussed, and back Rex comes with Sanchez, skipping over Tebow again. And now a rightly miffed Tebow is apparently headed back home to Jacksonville, where his still-rabid hometown fan following will again force the Jaguars to make the same mistake everyone's made with Tebow, which is mistake him for an NFL quarterback.

It's a sad deal all the way around. From Day One of his career, Tebow has been a captive of his own legend and overwhelming charisma. It forced the braintrust in Denver to try and make a quarterback out of him, even though it was likely obvious almost immediately that making an NFL QB out of Tebow was like fitting a square peg in a round hole.

Then, exacerbating the problem, Tebow managed to engineer a handful of wins down the stretch for the Broncos -- obscuring the fact that his record as a starter wound up right around .500, and that the Broncos lost their last three games with Tebow at the helm. Then came the win over the beat-up Steelers in the playoffs, after which the Patriots finally exposed Tebow and the Broncos for the wanna-bes they were.

By that time, though, Tebow was solidified as a QB in the public mind. Which means he'll likely never get a chance to succeed in the NFL the way he would have had the Broncos, right from the jump, looked at his physical dimensions and skill set and done the obvious: Make him a tight end.

Had they done that, Tebow could have evolved into Rob Gronkowski Lite. Now, he's doomed to be an NFL also-ran.

Sad.

* I was hoping that by going away for a few days, the NHL would magically be playing again by the time I came back. Obviously I overestimated the common sense of those involved in this ridiculous charade of a lockout.

Instead, commissioner Gary Bettman is apparently going to double down by suing the players, who've already made more than enough concessions to have wrapped this thing up if anyone was remotely thinking straight. Bettman clearly has shown they're not, though, so, stupid is as stupid does. Squared.

Yeesh.

* So what's it say about the bowl season -- aka, the Tournament of Obscurity Parade -- that the best game so far has been the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (to distinguish it, presumably from the Meineke Car Care Bowl of, say, North Dakota)? In which the might 5-7 Golden Gophers of Minnesota lost 34-31 to the somewhat mightier 7-5 Texas Tech Red Raiders?

And what's it say about America that there's not only a Military Bowl, but a Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl?

Can't wait for next year's editions: The Global Force For Good U.S. Navy Bowl, the Belleau Wood Bowl Presented By The United States Marines, and the $300 Toilet Seat Pentagon Bowl.

All for now.

Ben Smith's blog.

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